“Both Nokia and ZTE have received an interim payment of Rs 150 crore each while UTStarcom, on the other hand, has been sanctioned Rs 50 crore, against their overall outstanding,” an industry source told ET, adding that there was still no clarity on the timeline for the full payment from BSNL.
BSNL, according to the person aware of the matter, would also release Rs 22 crore to Swedish Ericsson through circle offices towards supplies for the Phase-V GSM expansion initiative. BSNL owes Rs 120 crore to Ericsson.
As of mid-December, BSNL owed Rs 1,300 crore to ZTE and Rs 1,200 crore to Indo-Singaporean Rajeev Suri-headed Nokia. UTStarcom has demanded around Rs 500 crores in capex and opex dues.
The interim payment would, however, bring some respite to stressed foreign vendors who have been struggling following sectoral stress coupled with private telecom companies’ statutory liabilities.
The BSNL board, according to a person privy to the matter, has earmarked more than Rs 1,400 crore towards maintaining capital (Capex) as well as operational (Opex) expenditure.
Earlier, Finnish Nokia and Chinese ZTE had threatened to withdraw support from the state-controlled telco over nonpayment of dues and sought intervention from the top echelons of the government following intense pressure from their headquarters.
“We have received a partial amount and we welcome that. A large amount is still outstanding and we hope it will be disbursed soon to help us support BSNL in their 4G expansion plans,” a Nokia spokesperson said.
Queries to BSNL, Ericsson, ZTE and UTStarcom did not elicit any response.
The US-based American Tower Corporation (ATC) and Chinese Fiberhome are among overseas companies that have also been seeking dues from BSNL.
Earlier, BSNL chairman Pravin Kumar Purwar told ETT that multinational vendors were in touch with the state-run service provider and assured them that their issues would be resolved by December-end.
A Nokia spokesperson earlier said the nonpayment of dues was creating pressure on Nokia India’s ability to continue with its investment in delivering to BSNL and seeking global approvals for any 4G expansions.
ZTE, in a letter to BSNL too said that it was impossible for the company to further support BSNL with enormous amounts pending.
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